The Tigers will be buyers at the deadline

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There’s
a lot of talk about how rough it may be for teams going nowhere this
year to unload talent and salary at the deadline, but according to
owner Mike Illitch, the Tigers will be buying:

Ilitch
has a first-place baseball team, and he said he would do whatever was
necessary to ensure the Tigers remained in first place — even if that
meant adding more to an already inflated payroll.

“We’re
going to do whatever we’ve got to do,” Ilitch said. “We’re three games
in first. What are we going to do? There are a lot of things that we
can do. We’re going to try to improve one way or the other.”

Despite
all of the talk about Dontrelle Willis, the Tigers are in greater need
of offense than pitching, as they have four solid starters but are
second to last in the AL in runs per game. Still, their team ERA is
only a bit above average too, which suggests that the Tigers could be
in the market for any number of players. If Colorado thinks clearly and
realizes that their mini-run, while nice, isn’t evidence that they’re
true contenders, they may do well by dangling Jason Marquis and/or Brad
Hawpe at the Tigers. Matt Holliday would be a pretty useful rental too,
as would Nick Johnson, Alex Rios, or Aburey Huff.

Whatever they
do — as long as they avoid pitching Willis every fifth day — the
Tigers appear to be in good shape in a weak division, and that’s
especially true now that it seems that their owner is willing to load
for bear.

Umpire ejects Adrian Beltre for moving on-deck circle

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As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.

Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.

Video: Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford hits an inside-the-park grand slam

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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.

Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.

Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:

Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.

Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.